Celtics flip script on Heat, even Eastern Conference finals

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics never let up in a dominant victory against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics by no means let up in a dominant victory towards the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. (Elsa/Getty Images)

For the fourth time in as many video games within the Eastern Conference finals, one staff blitzed the opposite, and one of many strangest best-of-seven collection in latest NBA reminiscence is one way or the other headed again to Miami tied, 2-2.

The Miami Heat missed their first 14 pictures on Monday night time, scored the fewest factors (1) by means of the primary 9 minutes of a playoff sport this century and couldn’t get well in a 102-82 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Jayson Tatum led 5 Celtics in double figures with 31 factors, eight rebounds and 5 assists.

It was a mirror picture of Saturday’s Game 3, when the Heat led by 21 factors by the top of the primary quarter and as many as 26 factors within the first half, solely Miami by no means threatened to mount a comeback in Game 4.

Derrick White, beginning rather than injured Celtics guard Marcus Smart (proper ankle sprain), scored the sport’s first 5 factors on Boston’s solution to an 18-1 lead. White almost outscored the Heat by himself — and Tatum did — in a gap quarter their staff gained, 29-11. Tatum, shaking off a sore taking pictures shoulder, scored 12 factors in every of the primary two quarters, and the Celtics took a 57-33 lead into halftime.

The margin would have been worse had been it not for Victor Oladipo, who scored 13 of Miami’s first 18 factors and 18 of their first 28 — all off the bench — on 5-for-7 taking pictures (3-4 3P, 5-6 FT) by means of the sport’s first 21+ minutes. Oladipo’s teammates totaled solely 15 factors on 18/25/33 taking pictures splits by means of two quarters.

Gone was Boston’s carelessness. Miami scored 33 factors off the Celtics’ 24 turnovers in Game 3. Boston restricted these errors to simply three in Monday’s first half. Absent was Bam Adebayo, who scored a Heat-high 31 factors on Saturday. He had as many factors (3) as turnovers within the opening 24 minutes of Game 4.

The return of All-Defensive heart Robert Williams helped the Celtics lock up the paint, the place the Heat made simply 4 of their first 20 makes an attempt. Even with out Smart, the Defensive Player of the Year, Boston owned that finish of the ground. Scouting resulted in two strips of Adebayo as he spun right into a publish transfer. No one bit on Jimmy Butler’s up-fakes, and the consequence was a 3-for-14 taking pictures night time for Miami’s finest participant.

Neither Butler nor Kyle Lowry — respectively nursing proper knee and left hamstring accidents — performed the ultimate 16 minutes of Game 4, as Boston’s lead ballooned north of 30 factors. The Heat had been additionally with out Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro (left groin damage). How a lot the remainder helps for Wednesday’s Game 5 in Miami stays to be seen. If the primary 4 video games are any indication, the collection might be on full tilt once more.

The Heat outscored the Celtics 39-14 within the third quarter of Game 1 and 39-18 within the first quarter of Game 3. Boston gained 13 of the primary 15 quarters within the collection, together with the primary halves of Game 2, 70-45, and Game 4, 57-33. When they deal with the ball and play the protection that made them the NBA’s finest on that finish all season, the Celtics have managed the collection, however the Heat have a approach of crushing their souls.

Game 5 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday in Miami. Stay tuned for something.

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